I recently read this incredible post about how Andy Tryba’s office is set up and was immediately jealous. Honestly, his office looks amazing and the amount of thought that went into how he arranged everything was inspiring.
I’ve worked 100% remote for four years now and my office has been in many different locations. There was even a time when I was nomading and I would argue that my office would have been my laptop.
I’ve lived in Charlottesville, Virginia for only a few months, but this is already my favourite office set up I’ve ever had.
The room where I’m working (what would have been another bedroom in our home) is small enough to feel cozy with plenty of natural light and more than one place to sit and work.
As is clear from these photos, I have several pets, most notably: two dogs and two cats. My office is also the room where my two cats have their beds and food.
Having this space in my home that is set up only for working is extremely powerful for me because one of the rules I’ve established for myself while working remotely is to not work from spaces where I would be relaxing later. That means I don’t work from my couch, or kitchen, or my bed. Now, I know plenty of other remote workers work from their beds or couches and are totally fine, so I’m not saying that everyone should do this but it works for me. I thrive on having specific routines and locations for where I’ll do work at home.
Some key things about this office that have helped make it a successful and productive space for me:
There is more than one place to sit
I have a rocking chair in the corner because I sometimes get restless sitting at my desk and it’s nice to have a small change in how I’m sitting. I absolutely love my rocking chair for this and I use the pillow on the chair to prop up my laptop.
Note: I stopped doing calls from this chair because I would start unintentionally rocking back and forth and it’s not the greatest experience for the person on the other end of the video.
I have an external monitor
Having an external monitor is new-ish for my set up. I always stayed away from them for (looking back) some rather ridiculous reasons. I thought a monitor would swamp my much-loved desk and that it wouldn’t look as nice. I also thought it would be too large and unnecessary.
Luckily, I have someone in my life who was willing to push me a little bit on the fact that the monitor would work really well for me, and I haven’t looked back. (I talk a little bit about this monitor in Episode 21 of MakeWorkWork.)
The external monitor is now my main screen and I have my laptop off to the left. The extra real estate of this monitor has done wonders for my productivity levels. It’s incredible how being able to look at multiple pages at the same time can have such a positive effect. I don’t know how I lived without this monitor before.
It’s easy to keep clean, everything has its place
I don’t know if other people who work from home feel like this, but it’s hard for me to focus if my environment isn’t clean.
Something about having an unorganized office tugs at my brain and I want to clean everything before I start working. Now, that isn’t a good strategy because that could mean I end up wanting to clean my entire house before I start work and that would take a long time.
Instead, I focus on keeping my office neat and organized. Mentally, this set up tells my brain that everything in my office has a place and that everything is in its place. Like that saying “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
There’s a lot of peace of mind that having a clean space brings me and ultimately it’s one less thing for me to get distracted by.
The only thing I’ve done differently in other offices is to angle my desk towards the windows. Since I’m in a lot of video calls, the natural light is often better for video calls. I’m usually wary of windows being behind me because it’s never nice to have a streak of light shining in from your background and making it impossible for others to see you.
In this house, I decided against putting my desk up against the two windows because they are so large and beautiful, it would have been a shame to block them off. In some of my afternoon calls, I am finding that my video can get a little bit dark, but that’s not the end of the world.
And that’s it! I’ve truly enjoyed working from home for four full years now, and I’m especially enjoying this new office set up.
If you have any questions about my set up feel free to leave a comment or send me a tweet. :)